Police Commissioner Andrew Coster reveals why conversation with politicians about Parliament occupation made him 'uncomfortable'

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says he was "uncomfortable" when he met with frustrated politicians because police "weren't well-placed to bring about a resolution". 

After the Parliament protests ended last year around 2000 complaints were laid against police to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA)

It released its report on Thursday and found a number of failings but also said police action was largely justified. 

Coster told AM host Melissa Chan-Green that the "large" and "growing" occupation was "uncomfortable" and so was his meeting with political leaders. 

"The Speaker, as the lawful occupier, wanted the grounds of Parliament to be free of trespassers, and the local MP wanted local constituents to be able to go about their business. So that's inherently uncomfortable because we weren't well-placed to bring about a resolution."

Although hours later on February 10 police began an ultimately unsuccessful operation to remove the protesters, Coster made it clear it wasn't a result of political pressure.

"I fiercely guard my operational independence, and I did throughout this situation."

The IPCA report examined whether the decision to lanch the operation was politically influenced, but found there was no "undue political interference". 

However, it did highlight that "many" officers in the Wellington District that it spoke to, along with some from elsewhere, were "firmly of the view the decision to conduct a police operation on 10 February had resulted from strong political pressure".

"Some inferred that this pressure crossed the line and intruded on police operational independence," the report said.

Coster also conceded police underestimated the scale and intensity of how the protest would unfold. 

The IPCA report found police had more opportunities to plan more before the arrival of the occupation, but says that wouldn't have likely changed the outcome.

"In hindsight, that plan was not adequate for the scale of what occurred."

He added police didn't have enough staff or the legal ability to move even if police were to act.

"There simply wasn't the legal authority for us to stop people coming there (Parliament). In fact, for a protest to arrive at Parliament is exactly the right place for them to come."

Watch Coster's full interview above.